tv Charlie Rose Bloomberg May 7, 2016 1:00pm-2:01pm EDT
>> from our studios in new york city, this is "charlie rose." charlie: the musical "hamilton" is nominated for a record-setting 16 tony awards. 16 tony awards. it tells the story of america's founding fathers based on a biography of alexander hamilton. the production has earned a pulitzer prize for drama for lin manuel miranda. daveed diggs is one of the performers, he plays both the marquis de lafayette and thomas jefferson. he is also a member of an experimental hip-hop collective. i'm pleased to have him here. welcome. about time you got here.
daveed: i love it here. charlie: tell me how you ended up in "hamilton." daveed: so, i have known lin manuel and tommy, our director, for a long time. through a group called freestyle love supreme. which is an improvised rap concert that involves a lot of sketch comedy elements. so, i have been part of this group because i met another founding member of the group, anthony, because we were both called to substitute teach the same class in the bay area. back in my substitute teaching days. through this clerical error, i ended up in this group with lin. we were performing at the super bowl in 2012, i think, whenever
it was in new orleans, maybe 2013. tommy was directing that event. after it was over, he told me, lin is writing a rap musical about alexander hamilton. i told him it was a terrible idea and please send me the music. he asked if i would come to a reading at vassar. i said, of course, i have no money. i will do anything you ask me to do right now if there is a check at attached to it. -- check attached to it. he sent me the script. he sent me the script as it was thus far, the first act and some scattered songs from the second act. all the demos of lin singing every part of every song. and beats he made in garageband, totally unfinished. it was the most brilliant thing i had ever heard. charlie: what did they say? daveed: come to vassar and do the reading.
so, i did the reading, and i kept showing up every time they told me they would touch it again, i canceled plans, took flights, because i didn't want them to see anybody else. i wasn't qualified to do this, i had never done a musical, never saying in front of people. g in front of people. i had to spend time with our director so he could actually teach me how to sing. i was so uncomfortable doing everything except rapping, which i have been doing for most of my life. i was very comfortable doing that, but all of the other components, the dancing, singing, were new to me. fortunately, everybody was very patient with me and decided to not replace me. charlie: always playing both characters? daveed: it was conceived that way. lin said it was because we need to meet these people fresh in the second act, so you want to hopefully have the audience already fallen in love with the actor so you don't have to build a relationship with a new character, you don't have to spend time doing that. charlie: which is the hardest character? daveed: they present different challenges. lafayette i think is physically
more difficult. there is some jumping off of tables. a much more physical act. jefferson is more vocal. he is difficult for me. charlie: more difficult in terms of, vocally? in terms of the command and the speed? daveed: they both have a couple fast moments. the speed isn't a problem, it is really singing. what did i miss? that is the most terrifying thing i do every night. it still scares me to death. charlie: it is? that is when you return to make your appearance. daveed: jefferson is just back from paris. lafayette has just left for paris at the end of act one, jefferson comes back from paris in act ii. charlie: did you know it would be big when you started at the public theater? daveed: there was immediately a lot of attention. it was popular. also, it was a 300 seat theater. amazing people were coming, it was thrilling. but i don't think there was any way to predict how popular it would get.
charlie: you said you have seen a lot of your grandfather and -- in thomas jefferson. that you portray. daveed: there is this quality to our thomas jefferson where, he has to be incredibly charismatic, and also have this element of danger. my grandfather was always a hustler. you know, he is the kind of person who would show up, then disappear. whenever he was around, he was the dude you wanted to be next to. i took a lot of that, especially his walk, the walk i use for jefferson is the one i remember -- my grandfather's gait. it was passed down to all the men in my family. so i stole it. charlie: you have both told me the play, when we did an interview on stage, for the first time, you felt your own history. daveed: as an american, for
sure. you don't always feel particularly american growing up as a person of color in this country. you certainly feel like parts of the process aren't for you. you feel like, you know, being followed around in stores or whatever, not seeing anybody like yourself represented in the political process, you don't feel like parts of it are for you. all of a sudden, here, there is a bunch of people who look like me, or people who i grew up with, people i know, playing -- charlie: founding a country. daveed: founding it. creating the thing. that is a different kind of ownership. that is important. are theent matinees best. we had our first one not too long ago. charlie: this is for students? daveed: one matinee a month is dedicated entirely to new york public school 11th graders.
10:00 in the morning, the day starts, and these kids are getting on stage, representative groups from each school have been selected to present their sort of final presentations of hamilton curriculum they have been doing on our stage. we all showed up early and watch them do these incredible pieces where they are sort of using this style of storytelling to tell other stories about history, and it was the most inspired i have been in so long. charlie: tell us about lin-manuel miranda. daveed: he is a genius. he is certified. [laughter] charlie: he has the cred. daveed: he really is, in the best way. he is so fascinated by the things he gets interested in, and his mind works so fast. when you freestyle with somebody, you get to know them pretty well because you don't have time to put up walls,
really. all your guards, the way to freestyle is to exist in the moment. the way lin works, he can grab inspiration from anything and he retains information very well. his mind moves so much faster than mine. but he is just really kind, and generous, and gets people and understands so much of this process was him sort of tailoring things to me, seeing things that i like to do and being like, why don't we make jefferson do that? you like doing that, why shouldn't he do that? charlie: how long will this run in new york? forever? daveed: i don't know. charlie: you will be there as long as you enjoy it? as long as they -- daveed: yeah. all of those discussions have to happen. what is great is, the show is in really in good hands.
i got to see it for the first time ever. i had never seen the show. i came back my vacation and got to watch it. i was blown away. it is so good. charlie: people have seen it five times. some have seen it hundreds of times. daveed: ronnie c, thankfully, i . i love seeing that guy, it was so great having him in the room for the process. for someone like me, and reads -- who reads slowly, to be able to have a question the moment and ask him immediately. about lafayette, did that break history? he will say, no, and we can keep it in the show. charlie: he gives you freedom. daveed: yeah, if you are taking a creative liberty. charlie: why is it so successful? obviously it is brilliant. obviously the rap is perfect and the choreography is brilliant. how does this change your life?
daveed: "hamilton," in all ways, . you.ie: everybody knows ed: yeah, that is very different. i have been an artist for my whole life. and so much of that is in figuring it out on your own and doing things with your friends. i have a team of people. my stylist found this coat. it is fly. but it is not just that there are people around, there are people who really get me, and who care about my opinions, and understand, and want to help me make the career i want. for somebody who has been doing it by themselves for so long, that is a crazy thing. i live in new york. all of a sudden. i was in los angeles. i can afford to live in new york for the moment. but i don't count my chickens before they hatch. [laughter] but it is going all right right
now. the community of artists has opened up. i have so many new collaborators and people to work with oliver all over the place. charlie: do you think of yourself first as a rapper than as an actor? daveed: i have always done both. i have been doing plays since i was a kid, but musicals were never my thing. that is why this feels so new. i really knew nothing about doing a musical. charlie: is the velocity hard? daveed: not for me. that is the easy stuff for me. i am from the bay area. we tend to -- charlie: this is the fastest we have seen since shakespeare. daveed: it is high tempo for rap music. it is not twister. but it is up there. it is fast. i have always rapped fast. that has always been my thing. i remember i was working on my album, the last album i put out in 2012. that took me four years to make. i was recording a song in the studio with my producer, named
wild man. what up, wild man? and we were in the studio together, and i am doing take after take, and i just couldn't get it. i had written this thing that i thought was really great. it was so fast. i couldn't wrap my mouth around it. we spent all day on it, and finally, he was like, maybe we will come back tomorrow. i said, i think i am not good enough yet. i wrote a thing that i am not good enough to rap yet, so let's record 10 or 15 other songs and i will come back to it. so it was literally like, intentionally building the skill of rapping faster. i wanted to do it for a song i really liked that i'd written. eventually, we came back to it and it was easy all of a sudden. that kind of process, for velocity, is something i am comfortable with. charlie: people are amazed by it. people watching it are saying, it's incredible, because it is clear. you get it. it has the music and the beat, and the rhythm there.
and the melody. daveed: i credit some of that clarity to bay area stuff, we over enunciate there. it is a thing we do. charlie: lin grew up with showtunes in his house. that was the ticket for him. daveed: absolutely. that is the story telling, it is so solid. that is a crazy thing to me. to rap things that are that show offey, and also so direct and so focused and tell the story so well. that is why he spent seven years writing it. charlie: he spent a year writing one song. daveed: the director told him he had to write faster. charlie: wait for it is one of your favorites? daveed: it's so good. it is so gorgeous. every night, it is gorgeous. the way leslie sings that song just -- charlie: silky. daveed: yes, silky.
[laughter] yeah. mean, i have the good fortune of being on stage, but in the dark in the back on the level, on the upper level, sort of singing backups for him. i listen to that song every night. it gets me every night. it is something that i think, as an artist, but really, everybody relates to the decision that now is not the time, going to wait for it. charlie: how many tickets have you gotten? daveed: they are all gone. charlie: they are gone. daveed: no more. charlie: you had a whole bunch at the top, and -- daveed: i brought as many people through as i could. they are gone. don't call me. i can't get you in. i am sorry. charlie: but it is so in demand, isn't it? now six months, one-year wait if you try to go through -- daveed: i don't know. but there is always the lottery,
which i think is good. charlie: that is great. you can come right before the theater. daveed: the whole front row, and that is so great, having the whole front row be people who, $10 tickets, they are the most excited people to be there. i don't see very well without my glasses, but those are the people i interact with most. those are the friends. the friends and family section. ♪
charlie: growing up in oakland, how did you see rap? was it your music, was it the only thing that spoke to your? daveed: not the only thing. but that was the one that was mine, right? my mom was a dj during the 1970's and 1980's. i sort of grew up listening to funk music. my dad was into that stuff, and old jazz fusion. i loved all that stuff. they didn't love rap music. that was mine. i came to that on my own. my older cousin would play me too short songs when i was too young to be listening to them. there was something dangerous about it, but also something people in my neighborhood were making, you know? charlie: did you want to be a rap star? daveed: i don't know about a star. charlie: let's say a very good rapper? daveed: i wanted to be very good
at rapping. when i was a teenager, i started rapping, i immediately knew this was something i wanted to be good at. it is a thing i worked that. the idea of stardom has always seemed strange to me. charlie: even now? daveed: even now. i don't -- charlie: you electrify the crowd when you come down those steps. daveed: that's good. charlie: it shifts the pace. jefferson is back from paris. what is the line? daveed: you will be back -- sorry, that is the king song. thomas jefferson coming home is what everybody is singing. i descend the staircase with all of my slaves singing. they are wheeling me around the stage. charlie: is it different today than it was two years ago? the show?
daveed: yes. charlie: how is it different? daveed: other than the song tweaks we did when we transferred. charlie: to broadway, bigger house, more people. daveed: also, it is just, it is in a groove now. the possibilities feel greater now. every moment on stage, it feels like you can make any choice and it is supported because we have been living with these characters for so long. charlie: you can still take chances? daveed: it feels like it. it feels like there are no wrong answers anymore. doing a play is figuring out a problem, the solving of a complicated math problem. you are trying to solve it right every night. you mess up somewhere. you never get it right. if we got it right, we wouldn't do it again. there is always something to fix. right now, it feels like there are so many things to try.
way more than it did when we first started. i used to feel like, i better get this, better say this lined the same way, or nobody will laugh, or nobody is going to hear it. charlie: the preciseness. daveed: there was a necessary precision. now, it feels a lot looser, it feels lived in. we feel like people up there, there is more of ourselves blending with the characters as we have lived with them for a long time. so we get to just exist a little bit more. charlie: what is a day for you like? daveed: in the last 48 hours, crazy. i have been getting up, press stuff. since the tony nomination it has been crazy. charlie: congratulations on the tony nomination. forget press time. before the tony nominations were selected, what was a day like? daveed: my favorite days, i get to write songs, sit at my computer and work on stuff. that doesn't happen often. charlie: but you are still creating songs. daveed: i still have a bunch of collaborators. charlie: what is clipping? daveed: clipping is myself and
two producers, wayne and dutch william hudson and -- thosesnipes two producers, william hudson and jonathan snipes. and we make rap songs. there are several rules to the way we make music. i don't write in the first person. we don't have any first-person narratives in the group. we also don't use drums. that is another rule. so, like, the sounds we are using as drum sounds are things we have made from analog synthesis or found sounds. that will go into sample breaking cinderblocks or tapping on cans or whatever, to make sounds that function the same way but this is sort of our attempt at combining sort of noise music and gangsta rap music. charlie: playing jefferson every night. a man who owned slaves. brilliant. he loved women. he loved fine things.
he helped create the republic. how do you see him? daveed: as somebody who has lived a privileged enough life to not be stressed out by his contradictions. i think a lot of us spend, me, i personally, daveed, spend a lot of time worrying about if i am, if my actions are lining up with the kind of person i want to be, or, you know? i don't get the sense from jefferson that that was a thing for him. everything was taken care of. and he was brilliant. so he had the freedom to sort of be brilliant and not really worry about if it was good.
the idea of good doesn't seem to come into play, necessarily. there is what is right, what will make the country strong, what will make me rich, allow me to keep this lifestyle. charlie: and he died broke. how about lafayette? daveed: lafayette is the opposite. he is the guy who left his wealth behind to come fight in the revolution. charlie: a sense of adventure? he wanted to test himself? daveed: he was from a military family and wasn't doing anything particularly involved with the military. he was looking for that. but also, i think because of this idea of what america represented, this idea of american democracy that the french would later sort of champion as their own, him learning about that, he felt called to come do that. when you read his letters, there that was a big
difference. there's a sweetness behind lafayette, and none of that is in jefferson. both are smart guys. lafayette, and maybe that is just because he is translating from french, but the writing is sort of sweeter. more beautiful. and i read a lot of letters back-and-forth between him and george washington, who he thought of as a father figure. they loved each other so much. charlie: lafayette and washington? did hamilton feel the same way about washington? daveed: i think there is a lot of that there. i imagine washington was a father figure to a lot of these guys. there is also a lot of that between hamilton and lafayette. they were really -- the way we portray the sons of liberty, even though there are some liberties taken in compressing time and when everything happened. like having them all meet in a bar at one time, that didn't
happen. but they did, there is this sort of mutual respect, i mean, there is a great letter i got to handle the original copy of -- charlie: from the historical society. daveed: yes. that lafayette wrote to hamilton, telling him that he had just written to washington, saying, look. he would be crazy not to make you a general. he knows that. trust me, it's coming. he really wanted to fight. charlie: he wanted to be a general. daveed: he wanted to fight. washington decided that he was too valuable. charlie: kind of saved him until the end. how well did jefferson know lafayette? daveed: they knew each other, for sure. in their letters back-and-forth, . i don't know that they were particularly close. i didn't get that sense. but also, my research is limited to what i needed to do for the show. charlie: but you got interested in this. sounds like you read a lot. daveed: i read a lot for me, but i didn't read a lot for chris jackson. charlie: he reads everything? daveed: he is a history guy.
well before this. when he got the opportunity to dive in, he had already been diving in and he dove deeper. charlie: when you look at the casting, do you think, lin is a genius. it looks like that to us. each of them is so, you know. we don't know any alternatives, so we don't know what anybody else would look like. chris looks like washington. he is the most imposing figure on the stage. daveed: that is what i thought. charlie: physically and every other way. daveed: when i saw it, i said, they got the dollar bill wrong. that is what the dude looks like. it made so much more sense, right? everything. the history made more sense. i think that is lin, that is tommy, that is andy. everybody taking care of the creative world. i think people look so right
because they embody these characters. they found the people who are them, right? the way that, you know, the way the actor that plays hercules and james madison acts offstage, the kind of energy he has off the stage, it follows him on stage when he plays mulligan. that is why the character takes up so much space. he is a big guy. he is a big personality. he also has this crazy soft side, so when he transfers into madison and all of a sudden he is this huge man, shrinking into the back. that is amazing to me. i don't know how he does it. he is massive. he can be both really big and very small. charlie: lin got the public credit, but tommy -- daveed: that guy is the captain of the ship. yeah. charlie: the captain of the ship. daveed: yeah.
and he is responsible for the atmosphere that was created that allowed this work to happen and allowed us to feel so comfortable with each other, putting this group together, all of it. and making the rooms the way that they were so we didn't feel stressed. he was good at blocking out outside noise. there was rumblings about this the whole time. we didn't hear any of that. we showed up to rehearsal and did the thing. we did our work. and he really, you know, i have never worked with anybody like that. who can take all of these things and sort of focus everybody, as well as tommy does. and make it feel like we are not working. it is always fun with him. we play spades, he is a hell of a spades player. i say that all the time.
you're really good. charlie: are you good? daveed: not as good as him. charlie: you talk about the sense of ownership with your history. when young african-american kids come and see it, tell me what you think they feel. daveed: i hope -- charlie: you have an african-american president. daveed: for kids who are young enough that they have only grown up with an african-american president, right? i can't even get in that mindset. that is a paradigm shift. the only president they have been aware of, right? that is amazing. that is so amazing. it is really great to be doing this in the same time, a time when that could be true. but what i hope is that they are seeing themselves and people they know, not just physically, but culturally, culturally because we are allowed to bring so much of our own family
histories, or this hip-hop history that is interwoven in to american history right now. so much of that is in the play, in the fabric of the play. i hope it feels like home to them. and i hope they can see themselves in every part of it. right on stage with us, if you want to be a performer someday, or represented in your government, if you want to be a politician someday, or in some way responsible for creating the rules and regulations of this country so that you feel free enough to speak up for them and change them if they are not working for you. that is a big thing, too. if you feel like rules were created without you in mind, then you don't always feel like anyone's going to listen to you if you have a problem with them. right? but the way to democracy is supposed to work, it is here for all of us and we can effect this change. i hope, that is a complicated thing and not as true often, as
we would like it to be. i believe it is important to believe some part of it, believe you have some agency and i hope seeing the show gives young black kids that. charlie: thank you for coming. daveed: thank you for having me. charlie: daveed diggs. tony a tony nominee. hamilton, jefferson, lafayette. back in a moment. ♪
charlie: scooter braun is here, . the music manager made his name after discovering a canadian teenager on youtube. his name was justin bieber. braun helped turn justin into a pop star and guided him back from his public downfall. he has made a name for himself beyond bieber. his company is involved in everything from tech startups like uber and spotify to the hit cbs television series "scorpion." it was recently announced that he has started comanaging another familiar name, kanye west. i am pleased to have him here at the table for the first time. welcome. scooter: thanks for having me. charlie: you were a party planner in atlanta. scooter: i was a kid who was
walking by some nightclubs, and didn't like that i didn't have enough money to really party. so i walked by a nightclub called chaos, and i stopped and said, if i get some people here next week, would you give me any money? and i really had never gone to a nightclub. the guy says, sure. how many people? i said, i don't know, 800. he looked at me as though i was crazy. i went to kinko's, made flyers, it the whole campus. -- hit the whole campus. 800 people came, and the next and you know, i was a party promoter. that led into everything else. charlie: what made you think you could do that? scooter: the main thing was, i was a freshman who had a high school sweetheart. i wasn't trying to hit on the girls. i was faithful to my sweetheart. i was friends with all the girls. when you are in college, pretty much the whole campus likes to go to the club where the freshman girls are going. me being friends, i got them there and the rest of the campus came.
so i didn't really, i always joke around, through my career, when people say what made you think you could do that, i joke around and i probably am too stupid to think about it before i do it and i end up doing it anyway. charlie: mark zuckerberg is connecting people through the internet on the harvard campus. you are in atlanta connecting people at parties. scooter: i reached out to him one ofcebook actually -- the first eight schools was emery where i was. i reached out to mark, which was a simple harvard e-mail address. he put me in touch with eduardo. i tried to become part of the original facebook team, not realizing what they would become, thinking it would be a good way for me not to have to fly to the campus. we worked on it for four months. they wrote back, we would love to get involved, but we are launching 36 schools. we will come back to you. it became facebook. i was never upset about it.
it made me realize, cool. i have that story that i can now tell you. charlie: he didn't give you any stock at the time. scooter: i didn't realize what he had passed on for me, but it is a fun story to tell now. no regrets, my life is good. charlie: when did you see the youtube video of justin bieber? scooter: i was 25 years old. i had come back from a night out with friends. i always couldn't sleep, i was an insomniac. i came back to my apartment in atlanta, and i started going through e-mails, and an artist named akon asked me to look at an artist he was interested in. he sent me a youtube clip. i started watching that artist and they were singing they were -- they were singing aretha franklin's "respect." i clicked on a related video thinking it was the same person. >> ♪ what you want, baby you got it ♪ scooter: it was a 12-year-old singing the same songs.
it was from a church talent competition. i watched everyone of his videos. i instantly knew he was a kid i had been looking for, and tracked him down that night. charlie: you know he could become what? scooter: in that moment, i worked at a place, a record store. i took a vp job there. for three years, i helped run the company had worked with a lot of big artists. i had all these ideas about social media. my boss gave me an opportunity, but he didn't believe in these ideas, necessarily. so i left the company and i knew what kind of artist i was looking for. when i saw justin, i instantly knew he was the artist i was looking for. it is a strange thing to say, but i saw the plan of how i could make him one of the world's biggest pop stars. kind of instantly.
charlie: what was the plan? scooter: it is very complicated, what happened in my head, but it was a combination of using youtube to build an audience, simple things like, i used to have justin record videos, people could watch his early videos of him in his room. i would never let him say, hi, my name is justin bieber. i would always just make him sing. we would keep it very raw. to the outside person, it didn't look like anything was being produced. also, by him not saying, hi, this is justin bieber, the interaction they had was more intimate. they felt like maybe i am seeing something i shouldn't see. that simple difference made the engagement very different. charlie: almost like you are eavesdropping on something. scooter: exactly. when people talk about millions and billions of impressions they are trying to achieve, they don't realize that people are having one screen in front of them, and it is an intimate
thing. when you're making the content, you have to think, how would i get someone to move if it was one-on-one? that is how i started doing it. charlie: this is the video you saw on youtube. ♪ i am so sick of love songs ♪ ♪ why can't i turn off the radio ♪ scooter: that is the one that pushed me over the edge. charlie: that was the one. scooter: the soul in his voice was something you can't teach. for a 12-year-old kid to be singing that song with that kind of emotion, that is not voice lessons, that is real. charlie: i would assume that is common for the biggest talent in the world. there is something you can't
teach. about who they are, what they do, whether it is fashion, music, theater, film. scooter: there is an it factor. for justin, there was a tone in his voice you can't teach. there was an ability that, you know, he was kind of everything. he is a strong young man from the day i met him. he had the personality, he had the charm. he has a way of, very early on, we went from a water park show to four later playing arenas. charlie: four months. scooter: it was two years a of developing online and building the audience. when we had the audience, it was a sleeping giant. i still remember playing at a water park and holding the kids back with security. 60 kids. in upstate new york.
four months later, we are playing our first arena in hartford civic center. charlie: you said he is a lot like you, or vice versa. what do you think you share? scooter: he is restless like me. he has a tenacity. you can't want it more than they do. i think that is why, there was a point where i had to stop everything. because i wanted to make sure that he still wanted this. i made a promise to him when he was a young man, that if he couldn't sing, couldn't dance, couldn't do any of that, i would always be there. i remember where i was. it was obama's first election. i was in line to actually vote for the presidency. he called me and he was upset. he was dealing with personal stuff. i made that promise to him. i will never forget where i was. i take a promise seriously. i feel like when you do this job and you are in the client service business at this level, whether it be justin or whether it be any of our clients, you have to care about these people.
you are stepping away from your life to step into theirs, and be a part of their journey. you have to give a -- charlie: when he is self-destructive, do you think he doesn't want it? he must realize he is throwing in a way. scooter: or he is a young man going through it. that was confusing for me. i am an adult. we have this huge operation we built. i think i have given all the tools to this young man to be able to handle it, and what i learned was that every story sometimes has an arc. everyone who had been through it, they said, look. teenage acts don't become adult acts. you have frank sinatra, you have justin timberlake, elvis. certain ones make it through. but no teenager has ever made the transition while being disliked on that level, where he
was at the end. people told me to give up. i said, i am not going to give up on a young man, because in our society, we have a tendency of telling young people, live your dreams. become successful. the moment they become successful, we belittle their dreams. we say, i tried everything, i failed. one day, something personal happens for him to tell the world, but he made a decision that he wants to make a change. i got a phone call. we met. he knew that we had been struggling with each other, because i was not ok with it. but he knew he wanted to change. he made a decision to change. once he did that, we put things in motion to help him go through the process. he came out on the other side and i think that there is an arc to that story. jerry weintraub passed away recently. i was having lunch, and at the time, i didn't understand it. we met each other, and he said to me, he goes, scooter, i love what you are doing. i love this client, this client.
i said, cool. and he said, justin. it was a rough year and a half. he said, no it wasn't. it is a great year. you will see. i was like, this guy is nuts. it was miserable. i didn't sleep. the best thing that happened to me was i met my wife. what i realize now is he gave me that piece of wisdom, while you are in it, you can see it. -- you cannot see it. but every great story has an arc. if you are willing to push through and persevere through the struggle, something great can happen. that is what every great movie is made from. charlie: diplo and skrillex. scooter: diplo, west, skrillex are good friends of mine. justin has recorded the song with his cowriter pooh bear. great name. they wrote a song called "where are you now." they wrote it with a piano and a synth. i took the files, and i had just done a song with diplo and ariana grande. i saw those guys, and they said,
do you have anything? i had an amazing vocal. i knew we had to find a formula. we had turned the life around, but we needed to get the music right. i gave them the vocal. we started working on it together over three months. we didn't tell justin. when it got to the point where the song was exactly where i wanted it, i made a deal for them to put it out first on their album. i had justin come to the office, and i said i have to play you something. remember the song, "where are you now?" this is the version produced by skrillex and diplo. he said, man, i love this. i said good, it is coming out in two weeks. luckily, it became a big hit. that is how we found the formula for the album. >> ♪ where are you now that i need you ♪ i needare you now that he
you ♪ ♪ i need you the most ♪ charlie: that is the justin bieber start. now, there is kanye west. [laughter] scooter: a different aspect of my life. charlie: indeed. are you ready for this? scooter: i have known kanye west for about 10 years. there were different points, we had talked about working together and i shied away from it because i enjoyed our friendship and i was nervous that if we went into the workplace, it would ruin our friendship. i reached out to him, just to say, how are you? as a friend, checking in, seeing the tabloid stuff, just curious. it led to a conversation and another conversation, and he said, you are coming in. you will be a part of this. i need you to kind of step in and manage me. i finally agreed, and i can tell you, the one thing that is my goal with working with him is, i
hope the world gets to see the guy i have gotten to know. charlie: who is that guy? scooter: a lot of people have an assumption about him that he might be selfish. or arrogant. charlie: or self-obsessed. scooter: completely. the guy i have gotten to know, i am learning to translate for others, a guy who got himself into financial trouble because he would give the shirt off his back to help someone. he is one of the most giving human beings i have ever met. he doesn't know how to say no when someone needs help. he feels like he can truly help everyone, and when he gets frustrated, it is because he is not trying to make money, he is not trying to just take as much wealth, he is trying to say, let me help. he is the definition of an artist. at his core, he is one of the
best people i have ever met. for me, when i work with people, that is the starting point. i have to make sure i enjoy them. for me to step away from my wife and my son and dedicate that time away from them to someone else, i have to enjoy the experience. charlie: what do you want to do with him? scooter: i want to help him take his journey to where he wants to go. charlie: where is that? scooter: whether it be with apparel, the idea of creativity and putting stuff into the world that changes and shapes culture for a positive way. that is his goal. he wants to really, you know, be a positive force in the world in the most significant way possible. culturally, he has shown to be that person. charlie: because of his cultural reach. scooter: and how we see music shifting when he puts stuff out. how we see sneakers becoming the biggest selling sneakers out there, how fashion changes. he is a very significant person. when you have intimate conversations with him, you can't help but walk away feeling like, wow.
there is something extremely special there. charlie: you understand how he drives people crazy? scooter: i think he understands. charlie: is that the point? scooter: i can understand kanye to a certain point. i think only kanye can truly understand kanye. but the point isn't to drive people crazy. everything is art. when people say, hey, everything he is doing is distracting from his music, well, if you walk up to a masterpiece and you see one stroke, you might say, why are all these other strokes around? if you take a few steps back, you see the whole picture. with kanye, it is about taking a couple steps back and seeing the whole picture, whole landscape that makes him so brilliant that what he does. i am working with him, and i am working every day and being pushed. at the same time, i am blatantly honest. i have told him, you might not like all my ideas, but you will hear them.
otherwise i can't be honest with you. i can tell you, he is not someone who doesn't listen. he is a great listener. he is someone who takes pieces, you know, and puts them together beautifully. there are very special people here, and he is one of them. charlie: you were doing something right when you look at the clients you have and the businesses you have created. give us a sense of scooter's view of the world in terms of media and what is happening, in terms of mobile, in terms of social media, in terms of how media is intertwined now with the essence of how we communicate. scooter: everyone can be a creator. all the tools are there for them. the best creations will still rise to the top. i think that what you will see through this is that truth will also rise to the top. we'll see a lot of people who unfortunately, journalistic integrity, i'm sure you of all people have been frustrated. the checks and balances of that
integrity is not there is much. -- as much di. but i think time is an amazing curator, but time is also the greatest teller of truth. over time, we will seek truth rise, great creation rise, cure ration rise to the top. but i don't think there will be any more opinions blocking great creation. i think that is what is most exciting for me. anyone who is a great creator, a kid sitting in his apartment in louisville -- charlie: there is a way of finding an audience. there was a way for an audience to find you. scooter: completely. i have put stuff online that has reached every country around the world, and i have been able to break countries before i get there. i have been able to find great creators to work with my clients, because i am able to go online and see stuff that i might have never even known that person in new zealand existed. it is a beautiful thing, but i think we will see so much in this next generation. they can go for content so quickly. what we will see over the next 10-20 years, people are going to want more and more quality. there is a misconception about
what quality means. people think better cameras or better this. no. the quality of the content, whether it is raw or highly produced. charlie: when you look at a future for you, you are building a business. that is what you are doing. what kind of business? scooter: i got to meet one of my heroes, and i now know him and spend time with him. it has been a pleasure, david geffen. david gave me incredible advice. he said, in 100 years, nobody will remember me so they sure as hell won't remember you. i responded, but they will feel our impact. he is right. when i am dead, i am dead. but i want to go to sleep at night, and when the final sleep happens, i know i have made a difference in the world. what i am trying to build, honestly, is a building where our mantra is inspire the world to try our mantra inspire the -- our mantra inspire the world to try.
look at what we have built and say, there is something i can go for. we are a self-made company. i started this business with $1400 from a summer job. whether it be going into film or television or tech or music, i want to be able to do cool stuff and see where it goes. charlie: david has made more money in his investments than the entertainment business. you are an investor in spotify, uber. will you make more money in siliconinvested in valley than your own business? scooter: possibly yes. the reason why i love that i get to come on your show is because this video will go out there and a lot of people will see it, . something that is more important, what am i building? there is a big misconception with young people that i speak a lot too. -- speak a lot to come up because of my client roster -- speak a lot to, because of who
my client roster is. that is what success is, how much money do you make yet, but another truth is, if you ask 15-year-old me, how much money do you need to be happy? i passed that number along time ago. my success is, i am a father to my son and a good husband to my wife. i can work with people like justin bieber, carly rae jepsen, kanye, and enjoy the people they are. i can have a good life. have i invested in these things? yes. will they do well? yes. but when i die, it will not go with me. people usually find that stuff out later on in life. what i have done is, i have gone to people i respect, and every single one of them comes back to me with, the quality of your relationships is your true success. and i think that if there is anything i am trying to get across in my company and my life , i want people to understand that that is how you become successful. money will come, especially, with quality. money starts showing up because
people bring you in. i have been brought into amazing businesses because my friends say, i want to show you this. i think if i had all the money in the world tonight and have my wife and son, i would be miserable. charlie: scooter braun, thank you. you have chosen great mentors. good to have you here. scooter: i appreciate it. charlie: thank you for joining us. see you next time. ♪